June 7, 2021
The latest Protecting Global Gains, Connecting Ecuador’s indigenous communities to health care through training in native languages, describes how health workers are reaching marginalized and geographically isolated communities during the ongoing pandemic.
Thanks to an innovative virtual training program launched by Universidad Católica de Cuenca and Project HOPE—a global health and humanitarian assistance organization—community health workers in Ecuador are delivering critical messaging on COVID-19 prevention in the native languages of Kichwa and Shuar. Health workers who successfully complete the training form a health brigade responsible for educating at least 2,000 local leaders who continue the knowledge-sharing within their own communities. By using local languages to communicate the importance of mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing, healthcare workers are providing life-saving health information to some of the most rural and far-flung communities.
Ecuador’s community health workers and this inclusive outreach holds promise beyond the context of COVID-19; the health brigades can help administer standard childhood vaccines, conduct prenatal consultations, and provide treatment for common ailments, much of which has been placed on hold during the pandemic lockdowns. The program’s success highlights the importance of adaptive and client-centered services that are responsive to the unique needs of marginalized populations.
Follow Protecting Global Gains on social media at @HIVpxresearch, @theglobalfight, @Amref_Worldwide, and #ProtectingGlobalGains, and consider amplifying these stories on your own social media. Advocates who are health care professionals can also join Project HOPE’s volunteer roster to help strengthen health systems in vulnerable communities around the world. Visit www.protectingglobalgains.org to learn more about how to take action.